Happy Holidays! I hope you had a lovely Christmas and are looking forward to the new year. (Although let’s hope 2017 isn’t quite so brutal when it comes to snatching our favourite icons away from us.)

But before we cross our fingers, place David Attenborough under 24hr watch and leap into a brighter 2017, let’s reflect on the past month’s offerings from the world of employer branding, recruitment and tech. We’ve also included some predictions for 2017 as well.


Facebook Ban Ethnic Affinity

Last month, Facebook announced it was building tools that detect and automatically disable the targeting for ads that involve employment, housing or credit.

This comes after the social media network was criticised by civil rights leaders for its ‘ethnic affinity’ ad targeting, which allowed advertisers to hone in on users who have shown interest in ‘content relating to particular ethnic communities’.

Erin Egan, Facebook’s Vice President of US Public Policy and Chief Privacy Officer said,

"Specifically, they’ve (civil rights leaders and policymakers) raised the possibility that some advertisers might use these segments to run ads that discriminate against people, particularly in areas where certain groups have historically faced discrimination — housing, employment and the extension of credit."

As a result of this, Facebook is also going to renew its Advertising Policies, which will require advertisers to not engage in discriminatory advertising.

The Voghera Housewife

Would you live with your target audience for a week? Sound scary? Well, it’s exactly what executives from Italian creative agency, La Balene, did during the last week in November.

The copywriter, art director, account manager and even the CEO shacked up with Michela, a Voghera housewife, and live streamed the whole experience via Facebook.

All meetings were held in Michela’s home, where she was involved in the project and even had the last say on proposals.

Recruiters Reshape Their Thinking

How do you reach passive candidates, who are happy in their current role and know nothing about the benefits and opportunities your firm could offer them?

The answer lies in thinking like a marketer, rather than a recruiter.

A smart marketing person thinks carefully about subject lines in emails, language used and benefits offered to the reader. So why should a recruiter, trying to grab the attention of a passive candidate, think any differently?

There’s ten points here, that as a recruiter, you need to consider when reaching out to your potential hires. One of the points is ‘personalising their career path’. Think carefully about the role you’re sending out. Is it something your recipient might have considered five years ago? Is it something they're already doing?

Also, be mindful of the little details in your emails. A simple misspelling of the recipient’s name when offering up a role could be enough to turn a Grade A potential employee off your company for good.

Textio to the Rescue

Have you heard of Textio? It’s the online writing tool to help improve your job postings.

Textio scores your existing job postings out of 100 and provides feedback on how you can improve. You can check out your own company’s score for free and see how you stack up against similar corporations.

Textio reports that businesses with a 90+ Textio score hire a talent pool that is 24 percent more qualified with 12 percent more diversity.

Once signed up, you can get further insights into the ‘why’ of your reading. Find out if your language leans more to the male or female tone of voice, if you’re using corporate clichés, if your language is positive and whether the length of your copy is too long or too short.

// TECH //

Blind App

Hundreds of Amazon employees shared their thoughts on Blind, the anonymous chat platform, after one of their colleagues attempted suicide by jumping off the headquarters’ building.

Fortunately, the man survived the jump, but unsurprisingly the episode has left many Amazon employees upset and uncomfortable.

Interestingly, although the story itself is hugely upsetting, it was the way Amazon dealt with the incident that riled employees. And rather than partaking in hushed conversations around the water cooler, workers have headed to Blind to anonymously share their thoughts and concerns.

Amazon chose not to send a company-wide email about the incident that left many workers feeling as though bosses were trying to ‘sweep the incident under the rug’. Employees also came together to collectively express how performance management systems, lack of union representation and the radio silence from Jeff Bezos had contributed to low morale in the workforce.

Blind (created in South Korea) allows existing employees to anonymously share their opinions and give honest feedback in a safe environment. Leaders can pose questions in the Blind forums and generate conversations amongst workers. These discussions provide insightful feedback on products and practices in the organisation.

Anonymity is crucial to the app's success. The brains behind Blind take user privacy so seriously, they have developed and patented their own security systems that means even Blind employees cannot identify users. 

What kind of questions would you ask in a Blind forum? Would you be prepared for unfiltered, honest feedback?

Braille Watch

As smartwatches and other wearable tech improves, those with visual impairments may feel like they are getting left behind.

However, all that is set to change with Dot, the first smart watch for the visually impaired.

Dot, a super light aluminium watch, features a circular face with special braille technology that works by linking to the user’s smartphone. Text messages, phone calls and notifications are recoded and sent back to the watch in the form of vibrations and traditional braille style raised dots.

The watch will vibrate to alert the user to a phone call or notification, with the raised dots telling the wearer who is calling them or what the notification is about.

And that’s not all. 

Dot includes many familiar features found on existing smartwatches. Transport and Google maps, weather, smart home control, news and social media can all be accessed and controlled via Dot. The watch has an impressive seven-day battery life and is built on an open system, free for developers to create additional apps.

Over 60,000 people around the world have already pre-ordered a Dot at an affordable cost of $290. The creation of Dot is sure to pave the way for more tech to be developed for visually impaired users around the globe.

// Coming up in 2017 //

This is where I don my Mystic Meg wig and share some of my favourite predictions for 2017, sourced from our magical crystal ball*

*Crystal ball may, or may not be, the internet.

Everything is Becoming Digital

Alright, not everything, but lots of the ways we work, communicate and manage our working lives will become more digitalised than ever before. As companies have come to recognise this, Bersin by Deloitte have observed eleven cultural and technological changes that are set to revolutionise the way we work in 2017.

Their report, Predictions for 2017: Everything is Becoming Digital, explains how these changes can influence your own talent attraction strategies. Predictions include how the focus on employee experience will overcome process design in HR and how a new generation of smart tools are set to shake up performance management.

One of the other predictions surrounds how diversity, inclusion and unconscious bias will become a top priority for businesses next year. Bersin recommends that HR departments will need to share their diverse hiring stats formally and even consider putting them on their website. 

Interestingly, this is something Microsoft are already working on as CEO bonuses will now be linked to diversity hiring statistics.

Challenges in Diversity in Tech

It feels like years that we’ve been hearing about how diversity in the tech industry needs to improve. 

Hearing how businesses reporting a 2 percent increase in diverse recruitment may feel an insignificant amount. But when you’re a large business this is a victory worth celebrating, as Intel Chief Diversity Officer, Danielle Brown explains,

"We've increased the representation of women in our workforce by 2 percent in a year, but 2 percent is really significant when you've got a huge installed base workforce and you're not a start-up doubling in size every year."

Danielle Brown, Intel's Chief Diversity Officer

However, Elizabeth Ames, the Vice President of Strategic Marketing and Alliances for the Anita Borg Institute (an organization focused on the advancement of women in technology) says, "People shouldn't have the expectation that next year it's going to be parity," 

She explains how meaningful progress can be measured in two ways:

·      Breakdown of new hires
·      Retention statistics

One of the key points is encouraging minority groups into leadership roles. This isn’t something that can be ‘fixed’ by simply enrolling these individuals into Leadership classes. It’s not these people have the skills and don’t need to be taught – it’s the systems and infrastructure that needs to be adjusted so these people feel supported. 

2017 is sure to see more of a focus on not just getting the right people in the right roles, but keeping them engaged in their job too. 

Global Recruiting Trends for 2017

LinkedIn have produced a report to help you compare your own recruiting trends against 4,000 other recruitment teams from 35 countries across the globe. There’s five key takeaways from the report and yes, you guessed it – one of them centres on diversity and screening automation being a key feature for next year.

Whilst some of the findings won’t be a huge surprise, there are many useful insights – including how if money weren’t a constraint, 53 percent of talent leaders would invest in branding and tools. The 32 slide report itself is nice and easy to digest, with beautiful graphics to help illustrate the findings. Well worth settling down with the last of the mince pies and giving this a read.

So, that brings us to the end of another Monthly Review. I hope you’ll join us in the New Year for more employer branding, technology and recruitment news and insight.

In the meantime, whatever you’re doing. I’ll raise a glass of this and wish you a wonderful New Year’s Eve. See you in 2017!

Bids & Marketing Executive

Josie co-ordinates TMP's marketing efforts across Europe. She is responsible for managing EmployerBrand.com, implementing the agency's social strategy and co-ordinating events around the UK and across Europe.